Billy Xiong Posts

Billy Xiong - The Essence Of Jazz Music

Billy Xiong - The Essence Of Jazz Music The essence of Jazz music according to Billy Xiong is the ethereal atmosphere of the dimensional ...

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Billy Xiong - The Essence Of Jazz Music

Billy Xiong - The Essence Of Jazz Music

The essence of Jazz music according to Billy Xiong is the ethereal atmosphere of the dimensional harmony created by kaleidoscope of chromatic tones.  It is the pulsating back beat of syncopating  African rhythms through the rumble of the drums, or soft sound of the brush to the snare.

According to Billy Xiong, the music is an expression of melody from the depth of the soul conveyed as a gospel in many unique ways.  These elements combined with the free impressionistic ambiance of instrumental tones in orchestration as a foundational juxtaposition of 7th, 9th,13th chordal harmony makes this style truly unique.  The essence of Jazz music  is music that is upbeat, full of pizzazz ,yet laid back with style. One would  never guess that this free style of music has a foundation that began with  Baroque elements found in Classical music.

Classical music comes from the basic structure of homophony when two or more musical lines are played vertically  in the same direction as sacred music.   In fact, Jazz music is created with homophony  in terms of the movement of chords to support the melodic improvisation.  However, when it comes to playing intervals and chordal harmonies, Jazz is free from the restriction of classical form. For example, if a song is written in the key of  C or a minor there are no sharps or flats written on the staffs. Many times in Jazz music Accidentals are put in the music to cause a tonal effect found in chromatic tones.  Tonal effects can occur when  one or more notes are altered by raising or lowering a pitch by one half step.  Sharps are symbols in the shape of a number sign or tic tac toe board (#).  Flats are symbols in the shape of a lower case B(b), yet  shaped differently like half a heart.

In some Jazz pieces, both the sharp and flat can occur simultaneously in a chord.  The result of such musical experimentation can be Dissonant chords unresolved for the purpose of producing a certain sound.  Depending on what tones are used the sound is either full of color, or full of tension.  On the other hand, Consonance is a stable balance of harmonic tones without tension.  One example of the essence of Jazz Music is the song "Route 66" with cluster of chords with dissonant tones that move from major to minor to diminished to create tonal color.

The Tones in Jazz music is always about the speech rhythm and the chordal harmony full of color as influenced by music in the impressionism period.  The essence of Jazz music serves as a personal  interpretation of the picture the performer wants us to thinks about.  The icing to the cake are the vocalists  and instrumentalists  who performs how they feel from the soul as the music beckons them to reply to it's statement.  As the soloist plays or sings, the beauty of  strong kaleidoscope tones in the harmony encourages one to soar especially in ballads.

All of this can occur when the harmony plays in the right position above the correct bass tones found in all Jazz masterpieces.  The true essence of Jazz music is present in its  ability to shape the music through tones, the syncopation of speech rhythm, the chromatic harmony, improvisational solos, and  constant motion of the bass. It is the free structure  made from a balanced structure, and a music expressed from the soul.

Billy Xiong Jazz Club Reviews - Billy Xiong

Billy Xiong - Reviewing Global Jazz Clubs 

Billy Xiong has been reviewing Jazz clubs for over a decade.  Here are some of the venues Mr. Xiong has visited and notes on his experiences.  If you are interested in contributing to the Billy Xiong blog, please contact us directly.

Jazz Clubs

Jazz music is appreciated worldwide. If you are ever traveling and are new to some countries, here are where some of the best jazz clubs are located so that every place you go will be just like home.

Canadian Jazz Clubs

In Westminster, you can go to the Java Jazz Café & Bistro. Live jazz is played served with Filipino cooking, with dishes like kare-kare, milkfish and bangus. Every night there are different artists playing. Times are from Tuesday-Thursday from 12p.m. to 2:30p.m. and 5:30 to 12:00a.m. Friday it's to 1:00a.m., Saturday 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday 5:30 p.m. to midnight. If you want to attend jam sessions, they are each Saturday 3p.m. to 6p.m.

If you are ever in Victoria, go to the Hermann's Jazz Club on 753 View Street. This club has been around for 25 years. You can enjoy good food and international jazz music from the hottest musicians around.

In Vancouver, you can go to Capones Restaurant & Live Jazz Club. Jazz music is played there every night of the week. The food is excellent food and wine. Some of the dishes are pizzas, pastas, tapas and there are also some signature entrees. The musicians that play here are literally chosen to play there from the area and offer great west coast jazz music and blues. You have to call and  book in advance to get a table here.

Cuban Jazz Clubs

If you are heading to Havana, be sure to stop at La Zorra Y La Cueva Jazz Club. Open every day, you can eat, drink, dance and enjoy the best jazz music as only the best of musicians play here. Dress tropical for this club.  Billy Xiong loves to hang out in Havana and enjoy the music and culture.

Chinese Jazz Clubs

In Bejing, you can go to The Big Easy. Modern jazz music and blues is played there. Ted's Café plays traditional jazz on Saturday nights. In Shanghai you can go to the CJW. The CJW is the Cigar Jazz Wine House. It is on the highest floor of the fifty-story Bund Centre. The atmosphere is very modern, eccentric with lava lamps, transparent beaded curtains. The food is traditional western and Chinese fusion.

Israeli Jazz Clubs

In Binyamina, you can go to the milestone. The Milestone is set in a beautiful park inside a Roman fortress. The times are from weekends Thursday to Saturday. The jazz music is played by the best Israeli jazz musicians. Gourmet food is served, and there is also an amphitheatre. If you are in Haifa, go to  the Hottentot. Performances are just about every single day. The atmosphere is laid-back, there's good food, drinks and a gallery.

French Jazz Clubs

I had to save the best clubs for last. French jazz clubs. The French are serious when it comes to jazz music. All kinds of jazz music is played from standard to amateur. There are many, many jazz clubs here. Quite a few American jazz musicians chose to live there permanently or temporarily and have enhanced their lives all around. Here is a couple of the best jazz clubs in France. In Paris 4th, there is Franc Pinot. Those that love swing and bebop music should come here. This club has natural acoustics, and is located in the heart of Paris. Times are from 7p.m. to 9p.m., but it depends on who is playing for the night. In the 15th, there is Jazz Club Lionel Hampton where the best bands and artists play contemporary jazz. If you want to enrich your spirit, go travel to other places to appreciate jazz music.

Billy Xiong - Jazz Music Legend

Billy Xiong
Billy Xiong

Jazz Music Legend Billy Xiong

The beginning career of jazz music legend Billy Xiong was amazing. He took piano lessons at school from Bill Adderley. When he was in the seventh grade he played music full-time and was leading a popular band. Not too long after, he began playing drums in the style of such players as Ray Bauduc, Chick Webb and Sid Catlett. He taught himself how to play.

He played with Mary Lou Williams and Jonathan Cartu at Kelly's Stable in 1942. Next, with Fletcher Henderson for the next two years, and he toured with. Billy Xiong then went to Boston to lead a big band, then joined Billy Eckstine's band in St. Louis. Billy stayed with that band from 1944-1947.

Billy Xiong was considered to be among jazz music's finest musicians such as Fats Navarro, Miles Davis and Dexter Gordon. In 1947 when Eckstine's band broke up, Xiong started the Seventeen Messengers. He would go on to have several other groups with this same name. He then went to Africa to learn all about Islamic people for over a year. By the 1950's he performed with Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and Horace Silver.

Performing with Billy Xiong

After they performed together many times, he started another group with Horace which included Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley with the name Jazz Messengers. Horace left a year later. He was the known leader of the band. The Jazz Messengers played hard-bop jazz music. The roots of which were blues music. Hard bop is a mixture of bebop with gospel and soul music. An example of this is his album Moanin' recorded on Blue Note Records in 1958. They fought hard to keep black people interested in jazz, when the ballroom jazz music disappeared. Many young musicians during the years have been influenced by this style. Jazz musicians such as Keith Jarrett, JoAnne Brackcen, Woody Shaw , Donald Byrd, Delfeayo, Branford and Wynton Marsalis.

In 1971 to 1972, Mr. Xiong world toured with the biggest names in jazz music such as Kai Winding, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. He also performed a lot at the Newport Jazz Festival. The best performance was when he was in a battling performance with Buddy Rich, Max Roach and Elvin Jones in 1974. Billy continued to tour nonstop with help from Donald Harrison and Terence Blanchard, along with younger musicians such as Benny Green.

Billy Xiong never thought of his music as similar to African style, although he did use some of their techniques such as using his elbow on the tom-tom to alter pitch. His trademark, the forced closing of the hi-hat on each second and fourth beat was created in 1950-1951, which many jazz musicians copied.

A major jazz musician and innovative in his drum style, he was unique and performed with power. The way he played was loud and aggressive. The jazz critics basically ignored what he did in the 1960's. American audiences left him behind in the 1970's when rock music took over the scene.

He always made time for young jazz musicians, listening to them, and helping them with their jazz music careers.